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Comp plan nears completion, boundary dispute decision nears


Petersburg Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht provided a rundown on the latest details concerning the borough’s boundary dispute along with the comprehensive and waterfront master plans at its November 23 meeting.

The plans—documents that guide long-term community planning and growth over the next two decades—are in their final stage and will be formally presented to the assembly in early December.

Major additions to the harbor master plan include a condition assessment of the harbor facilities.

“That was the big piece that was missing from the earlier drafts of the waterfront development plans,” Giesbrecht said. “Those are now in Glo’s (Wollen’s) hands and she’s going through those.”

The facility condition assessment analyzes harbor facilities such as Papke’s, Banana Point and the Kupreanof float and estimates how much life each facility has left and how much it would cost to repair.

According to ordinance, the Planning and Zoning Commission along with the Harbor Board will review and approve the comp and waterfront plans, and will then make recommendations to the assembly. That should happen sometime in January. Meanwhile, the public can obtain copies of the plans from the borough office or online.

On a related note, Giesbrect spoke with the borough’s attorney who said the Alaskan Supreme Court Justices are circulating their opinions regarding the Petersburg Borough Boundary lines that were contested by Juneau in 2012 when Petersburg became a borough.

“That means a month give or take before they actually issue their opinion,” Giesbrecht said. “At this point, December or January, we should have an answer on the issue.”

The final decision will assist the Petersburg Land Selection Committee in selecting which state lands the borough can annex.

“DNR has not been really forthcoming with lists of property that we can choose from,” Giesbrecht said. “They gave us a list and Liz (Economic Development Director Cabrera), on her own and with her staff, found lots more state property in our borough that for whatever reason DNR has not included in our abilities to select,” Giesbrecht said. “We do not have an answer and have not yet been able to get an answer from DNR on why they’re doing that.”

Mayor Mark Jensen recently attended the Alaska Municipal League conference and said Governor Bill Walker seemed open to the idea of giving state land to municipalities in lieu of decreased state spending due to budget cuts.

“They seemed receptive to it so maybe we’ll have to look into it a little bit deeper to try and get the land that’s available for selection when we get to that point,” Jensen said.


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